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PART V Industrialization and Western Global Hegemony, 1750-1914


The spread of the Industrial Revolution from the British Isles to continental Europe and North America greatly increased the advantages the Western powers already enjoyed in manufacturing capacity and the ability to wage war, relative to all other peoples and civilizations. These advantages resulted in ever higher levels of European and American involvement in the outside world and culminated in the domination of the globe by Western powers by the late 19th century. Beginning in the 1870s, the Europeans indulged in an orgy of overseas conquests that reduced most of Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Ocean region to colonial possessions by the time of the outbreak of World War I in 1914 (see Maps 24.4 and 24.5). In these empires, there were major shifts in the social interaction between Europeans and colonized peoples, in the means by which Europeans extracted wealth from their overseas possessions, and in the Europeans' attitudes toward the spread of what they saw as their superior ideas and institutions.
Although science and industry gave the Europeans power over the rest of the world, they also heightened economic competition and political rivalries between the European powers. In the first half of the 19th century, industrial Britain, with its seemingly insurmountable naval superiority, was left alone to dominate overseas trade and empire building. By the

CHAPTER 24 Industrialization and Imperialism: The Making of the European Global Order


Map 24.4 The Partition of Africa between c. 1870 and 1914

last decades of the century, Belgium, France, and especially Germany and the United States were challenging Britain's industrial supremacy and actively building (or in the case of France, adding to) colonial empires of their own. Many of the political leaders of these expansive nations saw colonies as essential to states that aspired to status as great powers. Colonies were also seen as insurance against raw material shortages and the loss of overseas market outlets to European or North American rivals. Thus, the concerns of Europe's political leaders were both political and economic. The late 19th century was a period of recurring economic depressions in Europe and the United States. The leaders of the newly industrialized nations had little experience in handling the overproduction and unemployment that came with each of these economic crises. They were deeply concerned about the social unrest and, in some cases, what appeared to be stirrings of revolu-

tion that each phase of depression created. Some political theorists argued that as destinations to which unemployed workers might migrate and as potential markets for surplus goods, colonies could serve as safety valves to release the pressure built up in times of industrial slumps. In the era of the scramble for colonial possessions, political leaders in Europe played a much more prominent role in decisions to annex overseas territories than they had earlier, even in the first half of the 19th century. In part, this was because of improved communications. Telegraphs and railways not only made it possible to transmit orders much more rapidly from the capitals of Europe to their representatives in the tropics but also allowed ministers in Europe to play a much more active role in the ongoing governance of the colonies. But more than politicians were involved in late 19th-century decisions to add to the colonial empires. The popular


PART V Industrialization and Western Global Hegemony, 1750-1914

Map 24.5 The Partition of Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands to 1914

press and the extension of the vote to the lower middle and working classes in industrial Europe and the United States made public opinion a major factor in foreign policy. Although stalwart explorers might on their own initiative make treaties with local African or Asian potentates who assigned their lands to France or Germany, these annexations had to be ratified by the home government. In most cases, ratification meant fierce parliamentary debates, which often spilled over into press wars and popular demonstrations. Empires were now only rarely the personal projects of private trading concerns and ambitious individuals; they had become the property and pride of the nations of Europe and North America. Quarrels over the division of the colonial spoils were cited by those who sought to justify the arms buildup and general militarism of the age. Colonial rivalries greatly intensified the growing tension that dominated the interaction of Western powers in the decades before World War I. As Europe divided into armed camps, successive crises over control of the Sudan, Morocco, and the Balkans (which the great powers treated very much like colonies) had much to

do with the alliances that formed and the crisis mentality that contributed so much to the outbreak of war in August 1914.

Unequal Combat: Colonial Wars and the Apex of European Imperialism

Industrial change not only justified the Europeans' grab for colonial possessions but made them much easier to acquire. By the late 19th century, scientific discoveries and technological innovations had catapulted the Europeans far ahead of all other peoples in the capacity to wage war. The Europeans could tap mineral resources that most peoples did not even know existed, and European chemists mixed ever more deadly explosives. Advances in metallurgy made possible the mass production of light, mobile artillery pieces that rendered suicidal the massed cavalry or infantry charges that were the mainstay of Asian and African armies. Advances in artillery were matched by great improvements in hand arms. Much more accurate and faster firing, breech-loading rifles replaced

CHAPTER 24 Industrialization and Imperialism: The Making of the European Global Order


the clumsy muzzle-loading muskets of the first phase of empire building. By the 1880s, after decades of experimentation, the machine gun had become an effective battlefield weapon. Railroads gave the Europeans the mobility of the swiftest African or Asian cavalry and the ability to supply large armies in the field for extended periods of time. On the sea, Europe's already formidable advantages (amply illustrated in Figure 24.3) were increased by industrial transformations. After the opening of the Suez canal in 1869, steam power supplanted the sail, iron hulls replaced wood, and massive guns, capable of hitting enemy vessels miles away, were introduced into the fleets of the great powers. The dazzling array of new weaponry with which the Europeans set out on their expeditions to the Indian frontiers or the African bush made the wars of colonial conquest very lopsided. This was particularly true when the Europeans encountered resistance from peoples such as those in the interior of Africa or the Pacific islands (see Maps 24.4 and 24.5). These areas had been cut off from most preindustrial advances in technology, and thus their peoples were forced to fight European machine guns with spears, arrows, and leather shields. One African

leader, whose followers struggled with little hope to halt the German advance into east Africa, resorted to natural imagery to account for the power of the invaders' weapons: On Monday we heard a shuddering like Leviathan, the voice of many cannon; we heard the roar like waves of the rocks and rumble like thunder in the rains. We heard a crashing like elephants or monsters and our hearts melted at the number of shells. We knew that we were hearing the battle of Pangani; the guns were like a hurricane in our ears. Not even peoples with advanced preindustrial technology and sophisticated military organization, such as the Chinese and the Vietnamese, could stand against, or really comprehend, the fearful killing devices of the Europeans. In advising the Vietnamese emperor to give in to European demands, one of his officials, who had led the fight against the French invaders, warned,
Nobody can resist them. They go where they choose.... Under heaven, everything is feasible to them, save only the matter of life and death.

Figure 24.3 An engraving from the popular Illustrated London News shows British warships
and gunboats bombarding the east African port of Mombasa in 1874. As in the early centuries of European expansion, sea power remained a critical way for the British and other colonizers to project their power throughout the 19th century. Raids, such as the one shown in the illustration, were so heavily relied upon to control local rulers that the term gunboat diplomacy became a staple of international parlance in the mid-19th century.


PART V Industrialization and Western Global Hegemony, 1750-1914 but many believed that the informal political and economic influences the European powers exerted in these areas were the prelude to formal annexation.

Despite the odds against them, African and Asian peoples often fiercely resisted the imposition of colonial rule. West African leaders, such as Samory and Ahmadou Sekou, held back the European advance for decades. When rulers such as the Vietnamese emperors refused to fight, local officials organized guerrilla resistance in defense of the indigenous regime. Martial peoples such as the Zulus in South Africa had the courage and discipline to face and defeat sizable British forces in or conventional battles such as that at Isandhlwana in 1879 (depicted in the illustration that opens this chapter). But conventional resistance eventually ended in defeat. The guerrilla bands in Vietnam were eventually run to the ground. Even at Isandhlwana, 3000 Zulus lost their lives in the massacre of 800 British and 500 African troops. In addition, within days of the Zulu victory, a tiny force of 120 British troops at a nearby outpost held off an army of thousands of Zulus. Given European advantages in conventional battles, guerrilla resistance, sabotage, and in some cases banditry proved the most effective means of fighting the Europeans' attempts to assert political control. Religious leaders were often in the forefront of these struggles, which occurred across the globe from the Ghost Dance religion in the late 19th-century American West to the Maji Maji uprisings in German East Africa in 1907 and the Boxer rebellion in China in 1898. The magic potions and divine assistance they offered to protect their followers seemed to be the only way to offset the demoralizing killing power of the Europeans' weapons. However admirable the courage of those who resisted the European advance, and despite temporary setbacks, by the eve of World War I in 1914 very little of the earth was left for the Europeans to conquer. Except Ethiopia, all of Africa had been divided between the European powers (see Map 24.4). Maps of the continent became a patchwork of colors, each designating one of the European powers. In southeast Asia (see Map 24.5), only Siam remained independent, in part because Britain and France could not decide which of them should have it. The Americans had replaced the Spanish as the colonial overlords of the Philippines, and the Dutch were completing the conquest of the outer islands of the Indonesian archipelago. Even the island clusters of the Pacific had been divided between the hungry industrial powers. China, Persia, and the Middle East had not yet been occupied,


Widespread conquests were only the most dramatic manifestation of the great disparity in power that industrialization had created between the Europeans (including the North Americans) and all other peoples of the globe. The Europeans' sense of their own uniqueness and superiority, heightened by their unparalleled scientific and technological achievements, also led to major changes in their economic, social, and cultural relations with the colonized. Europeans living in the colonies increasingly distanced themselves from the peoples they ruled. Europe and North America became even more dominant in the world market system, with much of the rest of the globe supplying them with low-priced raw materials in return for the more highly priced, mass-produced consumer goods of the West. The demand for Western learning on the part of the elite and middle classes of colonized peoples in Africa and Asia rose sharply.
By the end of the 19th century, the European colonial order was made up of two different kinds of colonies. The greater portion of the European empires consisted of the so-called tropical dependencies in Africa, Asia, and the South Pacific. In these colonies, small numbers of Europeans ruled large populations of non-Western peoples. The tropical dependencies were a vast extension of the pattern of dominance the British, Dutch, and French had worked out earlier in India, Java, and African enclaves such as Senegal. Most of these colonies had been brought, often quite suddenly, under European rule in the late 19th and early 20th century. Settlement colonies were the second major type of European overseas possession, but within this type there were two different patterns of European occu-

CHAPTER 24 Industrialization and Imperialism: The Making of the European Global Order


pation and indigenous response. The first pattern was exhibited by colonies such as Canada and Australia, which the British labeled the White Dominions. The White Dominions accounted for a good portion of the land area but only a tiny minority of the population of Britain's global empire. The descendants of European settlers made up most of the population in these colonies, in which small numbers of native inhabitants had been decimated by diseases and wars of conquest. These patterns of European settlement and the sharp decline of the indigenous population were also found in the portions of North America that came to form the United States. Although colonies such as Canada and Australia remained within the British Empire, each moved steadily toward self-government and parliamentary rule in the late 19th century. In some of the areas where large numbers of Europeans had migrated, a second major variation on the settlement colony developed. Both in regions that had been colonized as early as North America, such as South Africa, and in those the Europeans and Americans had begun to occupy only in the mid- or late 19th century, such as Algeria, Kenya, New Zealand, and Hawaii, the key demographic characteristics of the settler colonies and tropical dependencies were combined. Temperate climates and mild disease environments in these areas made it possible for tens or hundreds of thousands of Europeans to settle permanently. Despite the Europeans' arrival, large indigenous populations survived and then began to increase rapidly. As a result, in these areas for which the label contested settler colonies seems most apt, Europeans and indigenous peoples increasingly clashed over land rights, resource control, social status, and cultural differences. From the 19th century onward, the history of contested settler societies has been dominated by the interaction between European settlers and indigenous peoples. The last sections of this chapter are devoted to case studies of three of the most important and representative examples of the contested settler colony variation on the settlement colony pattern: south Africa, New Zealand, and Hawaii. Because the pattern of colonization involved in the White Dominions is considered in some depth in Chapter 17, developments in Canada and Australia are covered largely through comparisons to patterns in South Africa and other contested settlement areas.

Colonial Regimes and African and Asian Peoples

As the Europeans imposed their rule over tens of millions of additional Africans and Asians in the late 19th century, they drew heavily on precedents set in older colonies, particularly India, in establishing administrative, legal, and educational systems. As in India (or in Java and Senegal), the Europeans exploited longstanding ethnic and cultural divisions between the peoples of their new African or Asian colonies to put down resistance and maintain control. In west and east Africa in particular, they used the peoples who followed animistic religions (those that focused on the proposition of nature or ancestral spirits) or those who had converted to Christianity against the Muslim communities that existed in most colonies. In official reports and censuses, colonial administrators strengthened existing ethnic differences by dividing the peoples in each colony into "tribes." The label itself, with its connotations of primitiveness and backwardness, says a great deal about general European attitudes toward the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa. In southeast Asia, the colonizers attempted to use hill-dwelling "tribal" minorities against the majority populations that lived in the lowlands. In each colonial area, favored minorities, often Christians, were recruited into the civil service and police. Their collaboration not only resulted in a sense of loyalty to the colonizers but antagonized less favored ethnic and religious groups, thus bolstering the divide-and-rule strategy of the Europeans. As had been the case in India, Java, and Senegal, small numbers of Europeans lived mainly in the capital city and major provincial towns. From these urban centers they oversaw the administration of the African and Asian colonies, which was actually carried out at the local level mainly by hundreds or thousands of African and Asian subordinates. Some of these subordinates, normally those in positions of the greatest authority, were Western educated. But the majority were recruited from indigenous elite groups, including village leaders, local notables, and regional lords (Figure 24.4). In Burma, Malaya, and east Africa, numerous Indian administrators and soldiers helped the British to rule new additions to their empire. The Europeans also recruited promising young men in the newly colonized areas for Western schooling that would make them fit for jobs as government clerks or railway mechanics.


PART V Industrialization and Western Global Hegemony, 1750-1914

Capitalism and Colonialism


the century since the European powers divided up much of Africa, Asia, and the Pacific into their colonial fiefdoms, historians have often debated how much this process had to do with capitalism. They have also debated, perhaps even more intensely, over how much economic benefit the European colonial powers and the United States were able garner from their colonies. The tables shown here pair Great Britain, the premier industrialized colonial power, with Germany, Europe, the United

States, and key areas of the British empire. For each Western society and colonized area, various indices of the amount or intensity of economic interaction are indicated. A careful examination of each set of statistics and a comparison among them should enable you to answer the questions that follow on the connections between capitalism and colonialism.
Questions: To which areas did the bulk of British

foreign investment flow? Which areas invested most

British Investment Abroad on the Eve of the First World War (1913)
Percent of Total Percent of Total Circa (1913 British Investment British Imports Main Products Exported to GB Percent of Total British Exports Main Products Imported fr. GB

Germany Rest of Europe "White" Dominions ( ANZAC) United States of America India (may include Ceylon) Egypt West Africa

0.17% 5.64%

8.98% 27%

Manufactures Foodstufs Manufactures Wool, Foodstuffs Ores, Textiles Manufactures Foodstuffs

9.82% 30%

Manufactures Foods Textiles, Machinery, Manufactures Machinery, Textiles, Foods Manufactures Machinery, Coal, Comestibles Manufactures Textiles, Coal Manufactures, Textiles, Machinery




20.05% 10.07%

16.95% 6.30%


11.29% Cotton, Jute Narcotics, Tea, Other Comestibles Cotton Foodstuffs, Plant Oils, Ores, Timber 1.25%

1.29% 0.99%


South Africa



Diamonds, Gold, Wool Other Ores


CHAPTER 24 Industrialization and Imperialism: The Making of the European Global Order


heavily in Great Britain? With which areas did the British have the highest volume of trade? On which was it the most dependent for outlets for its manufactured goods? On which was it the most dependent for raw materials? On which for raw materials that had strategic importance? Do these patterns suggest that colonized areas were more or less important than

independent nations; great power rivals, such as Germany and the United States; or settler colonies, such as Canada and Australia? On the basis of this information, would you say that Britain's "true" colonies (e.g., India, Malaya, sub-Saharan Africa) were vital to its economic well-being and defense? If so, which were the most important?

In contrast to Java and India, where schools were heavily state supported, Western-language education in Africa was left largely to Protestant and Catholic missionaries. As a result of deep-seated racial prejudices held by nearly all the colonizers, higher education was not promoted in Africa. As a result, college graduates were few in Africa compared with India, the Dutch East Indies, or even smaller Asian colonies such as Burma and Vietnam. This policy stunted the growth of a middle class in black Africa, a consequence that European colonial officials increasingly intended. As nationalist agitation spread among the Western-educated classes in India and other Asian colonies, colonial policymakers warned against the dangers posed by college graduates. According to this

argument, those with advanced educations among the colonized aspired to jobs that were beyond their capacity and were disgruntled when they could not find employment.

Changing Social Relations Between Colonizer and Colonized

In both long-held and newly acquired colonies, the growing tensions between the colonizers and the rising African and Asian middle classes reflected a larger shift in European social interaction with the colonized peoples. This shift had actually begun long before the scramble for colonies in the late 19th century. Its causes are complex, but the grow-

Figure 24.4 A dramatized engraving of the

submission in 1896 of King Prempeh of the powerful Asante kingdom in presentday Ghana. The picture underscores the importance the European colonizers placed on alliances with or the forced submission of indigenous African rulers and local leaders. It also shows a rare case of the public humiliation of indigenous leaders, who in this case had recently conspired to drive the British out by force. Normally, indigenous elites who cooperated with the colonizers were included in pageants celebrating the colonizers' power and were treated with respect, lest their hold over the mass of the colonized peoples be undermined.


PART V Industrialization and Western Global Hegemony, 1150-1914

ing size and changing makeup of European communities in the colonies were critical factors. As more and more Europeans went to the colonies, they tended to keep to themselves on social occasions rather than mixing with the "natives." New medicines and increasingly segregated living quarters made it possible to bring to the colonies the wives and families of government officials and European military officers (but not of the rank and file until well into the 20th century). Wives and families further closed the social circle of the colonized, and European women looked disapprovingly on liaisons between European men and Asian or African women. Brothels were off limits for upperclass officials and officers, and mixed marriages or living arrangements met with more and more vocal disapproval within the constricted world of the colonial communities and back home in Europe. The growing numbers of missionaries and pastors for European congregations in the colonies obviously strengthened these taboos. Historians of colonialism once put much of the blame on European women for the growing social gap between colonizer and colonized. But recent research has shown that male officials bore much of the responsibility. They established laws restricting or prohibiting miscegenation and other sorts of interracial liaisons. They also pushed for housing arrangements and police practices designed specifically to keep social contacts between European women and the colonized at a minimum. These measures locked European women in the colonies into an almost exclusively European world. They had many "native" servants and "native" nannies for their children. But they rarely came into contact with men or women of their own social standing from the colonized peoples. When they did, the occasions were highly public and strictly formal. The trend toward social exclusivism on the part of Europeans in the colonies and their open disdain for the culture of colonized peoples were reinforced by notions of white racial supremacy, which peaked in acceptance in the decades before World War I. It was widely believed that the mental and moral superiority of whites over the rest of humankind, usually divided into racial types according to the crude criterion of skin color, had been demonstrated by what were then believed to be scientific experiments. Because the inferior intelligence and weak sense of morality of non-Europeans were seen as inherent and

permanent, there seemed to be little motivation for Europeans to socialize with the colonized. There were also good reasons to fight the earlier tendency to adopt elements of the culture and lifestyle of subject peoples. As photos from the late 19th century reveal, stiff collars and ties for men and corsets and long skirts for women became obligatory for respectable colonial functionaries and their wives. The colonizers' houses were filled with the overstuffed furniture and bric-a-brac that the late Victorians loved so dearly. European social life in the colonies revolved around the infamous clubs, where the only "natives" allowed were the servants. In the heat of the summer, most of the administrators and nearly all of the colonizers' families retreated to hill stations, where the cool air and quaint architecture made it seem almost as if they were home again, or at least in a Swiss mountain resort.

Shifts in Methods of Economic Extraction

The relationship between the colonizers and the mass of the colonized remained much as it had been before. District officers, with the help of many "native" subordinates, continued to do their paternal duty to settle disputes between peasant villagers, punish criminals, and collect taxes. European planters and merchants still relied on African or Asian overseers and brokers to manage laborers and purchase crops and handicraft manufactures. But late 19th-century colonial bureaucrats and managers tried to instruct African and Asian peasants in scientific farming techniques and to compel the colonized peoples more generally to work harder and more efficiently. These efforts involved an important extension of dependent status in the Western-dominated world economy. Pressure for new work habits supported the drive for cheap raw materials to export, and drew in a growing segment of the colonial labor force. A wide range of incentives were devised to expand export production. Some of them benefited the colonized peoples, such as cheap consumer goods that could be purchased with cash earned by producing marketable crops or working on European plantations. In many instances, however, colonized peoples were simply forced to produce, for little or no pay, the crops or raw materials that the Europeans wanted. Head and but taxes were imposed that could be paid only in ivory, palm nuts,

CHAPTER 24 Industrialization and Imperialism: The Making of the European Global Order


or wages earned working on European estates. Under the worst of these forced-labor schemes, such as those inflicted on the peoples of the Belgian Congo in the late 19th century, villagers were flogged and killed if they failed to meet production quotas, and women and children were held hostage to ensure that the men would deliver the products demanded on time. Whether appealing to the colonized peoples' self-interest or using terror tactics, the colonial overlords were determined to draw their subjects into fuller participation in the Europeandominated global market economy. As increasing numbers of the colonized peoples were involved in the production of crops or minerals intended for export, the economies of most of Africa, India, and southeast Asia were reorganized to serve the needs of the industrializing European economies. Roads and railways were built primarily to move farm produce and raw materials from the interior of colonized areas to port centers from which they could be shipped to Europe. Benefiting from Europe's technological advances, mining sectors grew dramatically in most of the colonies. Vast areas that had previously been uncultivated or ( more commonly) had been planted in food crops were converted to the production of commoditiessuch as cocoa, palm oil, rubber, and hemp in great demand in the markets of Europe and, increasingly, the United States. The profits from the precious metals and minerals extracted from Africa's mines or the rubber grown in Malaya went mainly to European merchants and industrialists. The raw materials themselves were shipped to Europe to be processed and sold or used to make industrial products. The finished products were intended mainly for European consumers. The African and Asian laborers who produced these products were generally poorly paid if they were paid at all. The laborers and colonial economies as a whole were steadily reduced to dependence on the European-dominated global market. Thus, economic dependence complemented the political subjugation and social subordination of colonized African and Asian peoples in a world order loaded in favor of the expansionist nations of western Europe. It is little wonder then that, as the contrasting quotes in the Document section reveal, that African and Asian assessments of the impact of colonial rule differed sharply from those of the European overlords.

Settler Colonies and White Dominions: South Africa

The contested settler colonies that developed in Africa and the Pacific in the 19th century were similar to the White Dominions in important ways. In fact, the early history of South Africa, one of the largest contested settler colonies, had interesting parallels with those of Canada and Australia, the largest of the White Dominions. European settlers began to move into the southwest corner of south Africa and eastern Canada in the mid-17th century, long before the settlement of Australia began in the 1840s. The initial Dutch colony at Cape Town was established to provide a way station where Dutch merchant ships could take on water and fresh food in the middle of their long journey from Europe to the East Indies. In contrast to Canada, where French fur trappers and missionaries quickly moved into the interior, the small community of Dutch settlers stayed near the coast for decades after their arrival. But like the settlers in Australia, the Boers (or farmers), as the Dutch in South Africa came to be called, eventually began to move into the vast interior regions of the continent. Although the settlers in each of the three areas were confronted by wild, uncharted, and in some ways inhospitable frontier regions, they also found a temperate climate in which they could grow the crops and raise the livestock they were accustomed to in Europe. Equally important, they encountered a disease environment they could withstand.The Boers and Australians found the areas into which they moved sparsely populated. In this respect their experience was somewhat different from that of the settlers in Canada, where the American Indian population, though far from dense, was organized into powerful tribal confederations. The Boers and Australians faced much less resistance as they took possession of the lands once occupied by hunting-and-gathering peoples. The Boer farmers and cattle ranchers enslaved these peoples, the Khoikhoi, while integrating them into their large frontier homesteads. Extensive miscegenation between the Boers and Khoikhoi in these early centuries of European colonization produced the sizeable "colored" population that exists in South Africa today. The coloreds are seen as distinct from the black African majority. The Australian and Canadian settlers drove the aborigines they encountered into the interior, eventually leaving many of those who survived their invasions the uneasy occupants of remote tracts